Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘Bonnington Square’

Storytelling Starters ~ Quiddity

Saturday, November 28th, 2015

P1070781On 19 November, the Guardian newspaper ran a very interesting piece about the author Will Self leading a walking tour of Bristol. On the tour, evidently, he was encouraging participants to take in the uniqueness of our ordinary urban places. ‘Feel the wall,’ he urged, ‘its coldness, its integrity, its quiddity, its this-ness.’

I like Will Self’s words. (Quiddity feels especially good.) For it’s true. You can make what you think of as a commonplace walk and, if you really look, you can see so much. It can be like walking through stories. Often, the full stories are hidden. You end up wanting to know more.

Last Sunday, I took a bus from Brixton to the Kennington/Vauxhall area with a plan for a variation on something else I do from time to time, namely set out from my house on what I call a spoke. This means choosing a direction, then walking briskly for an hour in that direction and seeing how far I get before taking a bus back home. On Sunday, my aim was just to walk around an area that is not familiar to me, seeing whatever there was to be seen.  And I did see so many interesting things – the huge round building that houses the Oval Cricket Ground, the site of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens that were such a draw for Londoners back in the 18th century, several little art galleries I felt I’d like to visit (all closed, alas, because it was Sunday) and some delightful-looking community cafes.

But the treasure was Bonnington Square. Coming towards it unawares, my camera was already clicking, senses increasingly struck by the greenery and flowers outside front doors and along the pavements.  Admiring the inventive ways in which things had been planted, I then came upon the garden. What a miracle of creation! Information boards on the outside fence had caught my interest even before I went into the garden as they told me how, some years ago,  this small area of land had been rescued, derelict, from Local Authority plans to build upon it. The surrounding community had rallied to what they called the Paradise Project and, as I saw when I went inside, the garden they made became a little haven of beauty with a play space for children and several different areas where people can sit in sanctuary below lovely trees surrounded by plants. (more…)